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Principles and Practice of American Politics

Principles and Practice of American Politics
Classic and Contemporary Readings

Seventh Edition
Edited by:

June 2020 | 448 pages | CQ Press

Principles and Practice of American Politics is a well-balanced reader covering all the major topics of an American Government course.”

—Blake Jones, Ohio Valley University

Combining timeless readings with cutting-edge articles and essays, Principles and Practice of American Politics, Seventh Edition, enriches students’ understanding of the American political system by examining the strategic behavior of key players in U.S. politics. This collection of classic and contemporary readings brings concepts to life by providing students with real examples of how political actors are influenced by the strategies of others and are governed by the Constitution, the law, and institutional rules. Carefully edited by award-winning authors Samuel Kernell and Steven S. Smith, each reading is put into context to help students understand how political actions fall within a major national political forum.

New to the Seventh Edition

  • Nine new and updated essays encourage students to reflect on the continuing debates over the polarization of the American electorate and Congress, the role of social media and “fake news” in influencing public views of politicians and issues, the fragile Trump coalition, the efficacy of polling in tracking public opinion, and other issues more relevant than ever in the wake of the 2016 elections.
  • Additional essays challenge students to think more carefully about alternative institutions and political arrangements. The new essays present institutions of majority rule, the nature of racial discrimination, and the proper role of the court as less settled issues that provide students an opportunity to think through (and discuss) their views on the future direction of American civic life.
  • Each selection is artfully framed by Kernell and Smith’s contextual headnotes to make them appropriate for classroom use.
  • Original readings written specifically for the volume give the book a coherent treatment of the performance of U.S. political institutions.
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About the Editors
Chapter 1. Designing Institutions
1-1 Mancur Olson Jr., from The Logic of Collective Action

1-2 Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the Commons

Chapter 2. The Constitutional Framework
2-1 James Madison, Federalist No. 10

2-2 James Madison, Federalist No. 51

2-3 Samuel Kernell, “The True Principles of Republican Government”: Reassessing James Madison’s Political Science

Chapter 3. Federalism
3-1 Donald F. Kettl, Federalism: Sorting Out Who Does What

3-2 Thad Kousser, How America’s “Devolution Revolution” Reshaped Its Federalism

Chapter 4. Civil Rights
4-1 Rebekah Herrick, Public Opinion and Minority Interests

4-2 Justin Levitt, from New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?

Chapter 5. Civil Liberties
5-1 Jonathan Rauch, In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected

5-2 Supreme Court of the United States, Roe v. Wade

5-3 Gerald N. Rosenberg, The Real World of Constitutional Rights: The Supreme Court and the Implementation of the Abortion Decisions

Chapter 6. Congress
6-1 Steven S. Smith, Congress, the Troubled Institution

6-2 Sarah A. Binder, Legislating in Polarized Times

6-3 John H. Aldrich and David W. Rohde, Congressional Committees in a Continuing Partisan Era

Chapter 7. The Presidency
7-1 Richard E. Neustadt, from Presidential Power

7-2 Samuel Kernell, from Going Public

7-3 Shirley Anne Warshaw, The Struggle to Govern in the Trump White House: Competing Power Centers, Personalities, and World Visions

Chapter 8. The Bureaucracy
8-1 Terry M. Moe, The Politics of Bureaucratic Structure

8-2 David E. Lewis, from The Politics of Presidential Appointments

Chapter 9. The Judiciary
9-1 Antonin Scalia, from A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law

9-2 Stephen Breyer, from Active Liberty

9-3 Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78

Chapter 10. Public Opinion
10-1 Herbert Asher, Analyzing and Interpreting Polls

10-2 Morris P. Fiorina, from Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America

10-3 Alan I. Abramowmowitz, The Polarized Electorate

Chapter 11. Voting, Campaigns, and Elections
11-1 Samuel L. Popkin, from The Reasoning Voter

11-2 Gary C. Jacobson, No Compromise: The Electoral Origins of Legislative Gridlock

11-3 Michael Schudson, America’s Ignorant Voters

11-4 Betsy Sinclair, Steven S. Smith, and Patrick D. Tucker, The Fragile Trump Coalition

Chapter 12. Political Parties
12-1 John H. Aldrich, from Why Parties?

12-2 Lee Drutman, Doom-Loop Partisanship

12-3 Morris P. Fiorina, Parties as Problem Solvers

Chapter 13. Interest Group
13-1 E. E. Schattschneider, The Scope and Bias of the Pressure System

13-2 Jennifer Nicoll Victor, Gridlock Lobbying: Breaking, Creating, and Maintaining Legislative Stalemate

Chapter 14. News Media
14-1 Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkowkowkow, Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election

14-2 Alexis C. Madrigal, What Facebook Did to American Democracy

Appendix: Constitution of the United States

Principles and Practice of American Politics is a well-balanced reader covering all the major topics of an American Government course.”

Blake Jones
Ohio Valley University

Principles and Practice of American Politics includes scholarly but accessible essays on a range of important topics.”

William Bendix
Keene State College

“I was very impressed with Principles and Practice of American Politics. I especially liked the balance between classic and contemporary readings.”

Harold F. Bass
Ouachita Baptist University

“I appreciate the contemporary interpretations and syntheses of the classic works, as this makes those works more approachable for all students.”

Carl Palmer
Illinois State University